The Vision Bleak

Astra, Berlin - 2016

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

With the arrival of The Vision Bleak, I felt things were finally beginning to move, this October night in Berlin.
I might not know this German gothic horror band nearly as well as I know the headliner, Pain, but given mainly their songs subject matter, I’ve been meaning to check them out properly for a long time. Well, that, and they’ve come highly recommended from a friend.

“Willkommen Berlin!”
- Allen B. Konstanz (vocals)

Now, as The Vision Bleak are Germans, it didn’t come as a surprise that frontman Konstanz (a.k.a. Tobias Schønemann) spoke in German when addressing the crowd between songs, but that didn’t help my understanding of it on bit.
Still, the band had produced just a bit more decorations than the previous bands, so that we now watched both a backdrop, and a gravestone, standing slightly ajar, and with a crow on top of it. And smoke of course – like any good horror film from the classic Universal releases, an ominous mist was needed! Soon enough, my first The Vision Bleak concert would begin, and I was excited!

Coming on stage, the first thing I noticed was that they didn’t have a bassist with them. Fair enough, many bands don’t bring people on tour for specific instruments, especially bands that do not have someone explicitly occupying that instrument. And The Vision Bleak is a duo after all, with Konstanz and Ulf Theodor Schwadorf (a.k.a. Markus Stock, a.k.a. F. F. Yuggoth) doing all instruments themselves, and Schwadorf was busy on the guitar this night. The problem was that the recorded bass they used didn’t sound very good. It went up and down in volume in the beginning, and it never really blended that well with the live element of the show. While on the subject, I didn’t feel Konstanz’s vocals came across as well as they do on record either, neither musically nor emotionally. They had a small twang of being forced, sadly. Schwadorf’s grunts didn’t suffer from the same ailment, but they aren’t generally used very much, and neither were they here.
They knew a bit more about putting on a show however. Fairs fair, their music doesn’t lend itself to the same flashy extravaganza, that Billion Dollar Babies or Dynazty put on, but they had a better hold of the crowd, than any of those bands did. Not as good as I had expected, but still very good.

Speaking of the audience, it had grown still larger, and was by this point taking up a considerable part of the Astra Kulturhaus. They still needed a slight nudge to get into it, but that was delivered by Konstanz in The Night Of The Living Dead, as he instigated a successful “hey” chant.
Without going overboard, the audience was definitely also becoming more active by the band, and raised hands and headbanging could be seen around the place, accompanied by appreciative shouts between songs. For some reason, it was as if they didn’t want to let on in the beginning, but little by little this thawed the band up as well, and it was clear that Konstanz got closer and closer to cracking a smile on his otherwise grim visage.
The obvious shout-along song Kutulu!, with its chanted chorus, got just the type of loud response that I had anticipated for the entire gig, and it saw Konstanz getting down to the security fence, to get close to the fans.

So, I had walked in with anticipation, but as you may have guessed by now, it wasn’t completely fulfilled. This was ok, and the band was good at performing, but I had expected to be blown away. Too many little details weren’t completely in place for that to happen, but on the other hand, this was the first show on the tour. Hopefully, the jinxes worked themselves out further down the road.
With all this said, I’m still interested in delving deeper into the bleak world the band has created – honestly, with all their Lovecraft and Poe inspired songs, how could I stay away?


From Wolf To Peacock
The Night Of The Living Dead
The Kindred Of The Sunset
Into The Unknown
Descend Into Maelstrom
By Our Brotherhood With Set

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